Words and Music by Jerry Herman
Jerry Herman is a singer and songwriter who rose to fame on the strength of several hit Broadway shows, launched at a time when the rise of rock and roll was leading many to doubt the future of the American musical theater. Born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey to parents with a love of musical theater, Jerry Herman staged his first show while he was in college in 1955, and shortly after graduation he wrote music and lyrics for an off-Broadway show that ran two years. But it was 1964's blockbuster hit Hello Dolly that made Herman a big name on Broadway, and his next show, Mame, was nearly as successful. While many of Herman's subsequent shows were critical successes, they failed to enjoy the same level of success, and the film versions of both Hello Dolly and Mame failed to capture the magic of the stage versions. But Herman enjoyed a surprise comeback with 1983's La Cage Aux Folles, and today he's regarded as one of the last great figures of Broadway's golden age. Filmmaker Amber Edwards pays homage to Herman and his songs with Words and Music by Jerry Herman, a documentary which features performances of some of Herman's best known songs along with stories of his career in music. Among the interview subjects and performers are Carol Channing, Angela Lansbury, Leslie Uggams, Michael Feinstein, Charles Nelson Reilly, Fred Ebb, Marge Champion and many others.